Can you recollect the first time you encountered any given new
place or person?
Graduate students entering into a program far away from home or
from the undergrad college they attended may feel like
Indeed, my first year as a graduate student was not the
experience it could have been.
If I had properly researched CSUF, before actually sitting in a
class, I probably would have felt less alienated.
What more was that having observed two semesters of classes,
students seem to be very passive in terms of getting involved or
initiating contact with others within the same field of study.
Commonly heard excuses for this type of negligence are
“I’m working all the time,” or “I’ll
just do what the syllabus asks and I’ll survive.”
In short, not asking for more than what one can afford from
one’s schedule, but keeping crucial contacts, can only
greatly benefit him/her.
Students should strive for more involvement, do more than what
is requested of them academically and look to reach out and make
contact with fellow students.
For instance, CSUF offers a free service program for nearly all
There exists a wonderfully constructed University Learning
Center and the University Writing Center, where free tutoring
service is provided.
As a music student, it was suggested to me that I should study
privately with a tutor.
Knowing that the majority of students probably cannot afford
private tutoring, the university generously provides these
One need not be ashamed of going to a tutor for help in any
area; you may be surprised by how much working with the appropriate
tutor can do for you.
As for me, my tutor and I happen to be in the same class.
We’re helping each other as we go along with the loaded
coursework ahead of us.
We are both gaining confidence. Two brains work better than
This is also a great way to initiate contact.
Students should also not hesitate to get to know new faces in
Don’t wait until the professor commands classroom
participation because by the time you get to know your classmates
better, the semester may be over.
Getting to know more people within your field can help you
succeed. One should not underestimate the sociability and
congeniality of the students in one’s department.
Even though my first year was not strikingly successful, as it
could have been, I am ready to roll again as a survivor because I
have uncovered plenty of ways for getting involved and to succeed
There are a lot of helping-hands here, waiting to be
Lori Lu is a grad student studying music. Reach her at: